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The Matchstick Castle Hardcover – January 10, 2017

4.9 out of 5 stars 19 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–6—The last thing Brian wants to do is spend his summer with his aunt and uncle in Boring, IL. But since his scientist father is in Antarctica for the season, Brian is shipped off to the town that lives up to its name. Online summer school and his standoffish cousin, Nora, don't help matters. Then a fight between the cousins leads Brian and Nora to a large wooden house in the woods, and things finally start to get more interesting. The house belongs to an incredibly eccentric family who refer to the ramshackle building as a castle. The summer takes off with adventures thanks to Brian and Nora's new friend, Cosmo van Dash, the house's youngest resident. The trio encounter everything from wild boars and giant wasps to having to deal with a crazy bureaucrat who wants to destroy the "castle." This quirky novel is reminiscent of a Wes Anderson movie for the tweenage set. Strange families, dilapidated houses that may or may not be legitimate deathtraps, and oddball characters abound. The plot is winsome and well-thought-out, and the characters are likable. The van Dash uncles are goofy and will earn several laughs from readers. VERDICT For those who enjoy a bit of absurdist humor with their realism. Purchase where wacky middle grade adventure stories circulate well.—Paige Garrison, The Davis Academy, Sandy Springs, GA


"Fast-paced, anarchic fun for reluctant and avid readers alike."—Kirkus Reviews 

“This quirky novel is reminiscent of a Wes Anderson movie for the tweenage set. . . . For those who enjoy a bit of absurdist humor with their realism.”—School Library Journal 

“A zippy, adventurous romp in the woods complete with fierce animals and buried treasure.”—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"What makes this book special is the way Graff evokes the excitement of new vistas . . . . a compelling reminder that it's a great big world out there, just waiting for the next generation of dreamers and explorers."—Chicago Tribune

"A whimsical adventure with a large dose of humor? Yes, please! This story spoke to my inner child, who suffered too many boring summer vacations and longed to discover something magical and exciting in my own backyard."—Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, New York Times bestselling author of Book Scavenger and The Unbreakable Code 

"For boys and girls alike, this story sings.”—Blue Balliett, award-winning author of Chasing Vermeer

“A towering tale filled with astonishing action, amazing characters, and two very daring adventurers.”—David Lubar, author of the Monsterrific Tales series, the Weenies series, and Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie

Product details

  • Lexile Measure : 790L
  • Grade Level : 3 - 7
  • Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
  • Hardcover : 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1101996226
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1101996225
  • Publisher : G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (January 10, 2017)
  • Product Dimensions : 5.75 x 0.98 x 8.5 inches
  • Reading level : 8 - 12 years
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 19 ratings